Interview: Jake And The Never Land Pirates’ Sharky & Bones

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My three-year-old is a Sharky and Bones groupie. Our Jake and the Never Land Pirates soundtrack gets some serious play time, which means the whole family knows the lyrics to each swashbuckley song.

The frontmen behind the Never Land Pirate Band, otherwise known as Kevin Hendrickson and Loren Hoskins, have been channeling their piratey personas for over a decade. They got their Disney on after being discovered by Bobs Gannaway while writing the pilot for a kid’s TV show, Jake and the Never Land Pirates. After Gannaway introduced the band to Jay Stutler, vice president of music at Disney Television Animation, the rest was history.

The duo came through Chicago to perform in the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival (watch them here and here). We took this chance to sit down and talk about their continued comedic role in Jake and the Never Land Pirates, what we can expect from them next, and which Chicago-style deep dish pizza quite possibly the best in the city.

You two have come so far since we last talked. At the time, you couldn’t even tell me if you were going to do an album or not.

Loren: I know!

Kevin: That’s true.

Loren: The funny thing is that that album was done before the show ever hit the air. It was just sitting there. Disney was waiting for the right time to release it.

Your costumes have changed a bit, too. How much of that facial hair is yours?

Loren: Guess.

Sideburns?

Loren: Nope.

Ponytail?

Kevin: No. The ponytail and sideburns are not mine.

Loren: They gave us some sailor chops, so those are new.

Every pirate worth his salt has to have muttonchops.

Loren: Ha! They redid Bones’ outfit, too. It’s a lot more colorful.

It’s less like um… harem pants.

Kevin: Yes! Good point.

The silk pajama pants were a little odd. I’m liking this look much better.

Kevin: Yes, those were a little weird.

Yay for cloth pants!

Loren: And I get to wear stripey socks. I had to petition for that…

You had a bit of a Ben Franklin look going before with the plain hose.

 Loren: Yes! They were just blue and -

 Kevin: It was like Ben Franklin. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

How did you like doing the live concert on the Mag Mile?

Loren: It was cool. I miss having a live band though.

Kevin: I do, too.

Loren: I really miss it. At least we’re performing for kids and families again and that’s great, but we’re still performing to track, and it doesn’t feel all the way sincere… I don’t know if I should say that.

No, I understand what you’re saying. Coming from a musical background like both of you do, it must feel very different to play without a live band.

Loren: Kevin and I were always really good about working with the band and playing together, and playing out the moments like, ‘It doesn’t feel right to play this song right now, let’s skip to this one…’ or ‘Let’s just have the band vamp for a little bit, and get the kids yelling yo-ho and stuff.’

Tell me about your kids. Have they been fully piratized yet?

Loren: Yes.

Loren, your daughter is the youngest at one and a half. Does she realize you’re Sharky? Does she watch the show?

Loren: She’s grown up watching the show. She points at it and says “Sharky” and “Daddy,” and somehow tries to make sense of it.

Kevin, your kiddos are older now. Seven years old and three years old if I remember correctly.

Kevin: Yes. I just took them to Disneyland for the first time, and they loved it.

The second season of Jake and the Never Land Pirates is airing, and the 24-hour Disney Junior channel will replace SoapNet on March 23, 2012. What newness can we expect from you?

Loren: What we’re really excited about is the music for the second season – especially all the end credit songs. We kind of spun off into a bunch of different and new genres of music. It still feels like pirate rock, but we’ve got some calypso, and just tons of fun stuff.

Kevin: We brought some rockabilly,

Loren: Lots of different musical styles.

Kevin: The end credit songs that are supporting these videos that Loren talked about are going to make another good album I’d say.

Loren: Absolutely!

Wow. Can’t wait to hear all of it. Especially the rockabilly. That will be totally different.

Loren: It’s a really good song, too. “Rattle Your Bones.” And the music videos we shot for that this summer are amazing. The first year they threw us in front of a green screen, and were like, ‘This is all a gamble, let’s see what happens!’ You know, whatever. And now, they’re building these giant sets with tikis and flickering huts, and they built the deck of the Jolly Roger. There’s cameras flying around on cranes…

Kevin: It’s really fun.

So we’re talking a proper music video experience.

Loren: Yep. I think they’re going to blow people’s minds when they see them. They look amazing.

And here I thought Sharky and Bones’ coolness factor was already off the charts.

Loren: I’m really excited about what that’s going to do for the music and for the show.

Will you go on tour?

Loren: Disney’s talking about it.

Kevin: We just don’t know when or how. I hope anyway.

Will you have a live band?

Kevin: I kind of doubt it will be with a live band from the get go.

You think? Nothing like the Imagination Movers?

Loren: Well, they already were a live band and they kind of built around that.

Good point.

Loren: We’d like it, but I think that right now they’re still testing things and trying to build out the show and trying to decide if it’s about a rock band or if it’s about Jake and Izzy. It’s just so cool to have so many opportunities to write.

Kevin: All we’ve wanted to do is write songs.

Loren: From the beginning, we’ve loved performing. The opportunities are just mind boggling to keep up with. Like ‘Hey, write this pirate birthday song,’ and ‘Write this pirate princess song.’ We just try to keep up with that, but it’s amazing.

Kevin: To just echo what Loren said, it continues to be a thrill to get to write pirate songs all the time.

You flew in late last night and are flying out again this afternoon before filming another episode of Jake tomorrow morning. What will you do with the few hours you have left?

Loren: Well, we’re kind of hungry. We might have Ghirar, Giar… what is it?

Giordanos. There’s also Gino’s East.

Kevin: Is the city allowed to have more than one iconic pizza joint?

It’s basically a throwdown between Giordanos, Lou Malnati’s and Gino’s East.

Loren: What’s the difference?

It’s really a cheese vs. sauciness vs. dough kind of thing. Have it delivered and see which one you end up liking best.

Kevin: Um… do you know the name of our hotel?

And there you have it, an interview with the ever eloquent Sharky and Bones!

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